Autos: The Big Test

Auto engineers who dream of finding a replacement for the complicated, churning piston engine have long looked wistfully at the gas-turbine engine that introduced the jet age. The turbine—with its screeching siren noise, high fuel consumption, slow acceleration and searing exhaust gases—now dominates the jet field, but is still far out when it comes to autos. After 14 years of experimenting and several premature publicity outbursts on the subject, Chrysler Corp. is now confident that it has tamed the gas turbine.

Next week it will introduce a smartly styled turbine-powered car that it considers reliable enough to...

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